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While the Australian sharemarket has had a volatile start to the day, the ASX 200 is up by 0.35 per cent to 6290.9 at lunch thanks to gains across most sectors. Markets remain cautious ahead of high level trade talks in Washington between the US and China tomorrow. One of the worst case scenarios would be the collapse of talks, the US doubling tariffs on China and China retaliating. The best case would be a surprise agreement in coming days which could provide a healthy boost to the market.

There are more winners than losers on the market on Thursday, with strong gains from telcos, banks and energy stocks helping most. It also is the busiest day of the week for AGMs, profit results and quarterly updates.

Graincorp (GNC) is down 3.8 per cent after posting a $58.9m loss over the six months to March due to severe drought on the east coast. The grain handler has decided to not pay investors an interim dividend for the first time since 2009.

Adelaide Brighton (ABC) is down 8 per cent after the building products maker warned profits will be 10-15 per cent lower in 2019 than last year. The cut to guidance was blamed on a slowing property market, increased competition and higher costs.

Orica (ORI) is up 7.5 per cent after the chemicals and explosives maker posted solid half year results and reiterated its outlook.

Qantas (QAN) is up 2 per cent after posting a 2.3 per cent lift in revenue to $4.4bn for the three months to March despite the timing of Easter which was later than usual this year. The current quarter (Apr-Jun) will receive a boost from Easter travel.

TPG Telecom (TPM) is up 1.5 per cent at lunch. The telco’s shares slumped by 13.5 per cent yesterday after the ACCC rejected the proposed merger with Vodafone, saying it would ‘substantially lessen competition’ for mobile-phone services.
TPG and Vodafone Hutchison will challenge the ACCC in Federal Court arguing there is little overlap between both companies. The ACCC’s decision lessens competition for Telstra (TLS) which is up 2.75 per cent.

Flexigroup (FXL) is up almost 30 per cent in two days after signing high profile retailers Ikea and Myer to its buy-now-pay later platform.

1.1bn shares have changed hands so far today, worth $2.1bn. 529 stocks are up, 394 down and 358 are flat.

Published by CommSec